The Foot and Ankle: an Overview a Fascinating Machine

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Foot and Ankle Scottsdale, AZThe foot and leg establish their basic structure within the first six years of life. Beyond that age, the bones continue to develop in size and stability, but the foot type is set. Up until this age, certain corrective measures can be taken to prevent future problems. After this age, however, the goals of treatment are to prevent problems through conditioning, to conservatively balance and protect the foot and all functions and environments, to treat acute foot and leg injuries and, finally, to consider correction of severe disabilities and chronic stress syndromes.

The foot is the foundation with our environment, the route between the body and the earth. Any structural, functional or metabolic imbalance within the lower extremity who course compensation by other body parts, inefficiency, fatigue and overuse. The foot cannot be isolated from other body parts. The same muscles, tendons and ligaments take part in the integral bone structures which provide support, posture and efficient motion.

Movement of the foot during gait is predictable and synonymous with movement of all the bones of lower extremity. A small amount of imbalance (even a few degrees of motion) send shockwaves through the grounded up the link. The foot is a mirror of systemic disease problems, and will reflect problems in all systems of the body. The foot is a unique, intricate mechanism which provides a wide variety of services. It cushions the body and adapts to uneven surfaces. It provides traction for movement, awareness of joint and body position for balance, and leverage for propulsion. It is forced to function under adverse circumstances, on hard surfaces and the enclosed shoes, it is only paid attention to when it fails to fulfill these functions.

Throughout the 26 bones, the multitude of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels in each foot, each tissue and structure has specific function. The ideal normal foot in stance demonstrates the heel bone which is in line with the leg and perpendicular to the supporting surface, the forefoot (metatarsal heads) is perpendicular to the rear foot and parallel to the supporting surface . The ankle joint can dorsiflex (toes go up) and plantar flex (toes go down). When the disruption of the balance occurs either due to trauma, overuse or imbalance, the injured tissue itself and the other tissues must compensate. Compensation is defined as an abnormal attempt by the body to neutralize an abnormal force although usually applied to by mechanical forces, compensation may be applied to any bodily attempt to dissipate stress.

Bones form the skeleton and they serve as attachments for muscles, joints articulate or band with other bones. Shape of the bone and joint determines the direction of motion the smooth ends where bones contact each other are covered with cartilage and joint fluid, they are encapsulated, protected and down down with ligaments. Ligaments maintain joint alignment, provide stability. Muscles arise from bones and attached to other bones with elastic tendance when the muscles contract and thicken the tendon pulls producing a shorter distance between the origin (beginning) and the insertion (end), resulting in the ability of the body to move the bones in a choreographed range of motion. Each muscle can be conditioned for movement, leverage, balance and accuracy. Each muscle or muscle group has opposing muscles which prevent jerky or excessive movement and stress on bones and joints.

The stimulus for muscle contraction comes through nerves which may work voluntarily, involuntary or by reflex. Nerves of the electrical system of the body. They supply all tissues and control movement and sensations of pain, cold, heat, touch and balance.

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  • beth

    Hi,
    I’m a mom with a 13yo boy who for the past two years I’ve noticed he walks with a pronounced turn out. When I tell him to “walk straight” he can but his natural inclination is a turn out. He also has extremely flat feet, no arch. His feet look weird. I took him to a podiatrist who said that is just him and there isn’t anything to do. He did suggest orthathecs for his sneakers but I doubt he will wear them but it is summer and he is in flip/flops or barefoot. It bothers me and I was just wondering if anything can be done about this.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Neurotic Mom

    • Dr. Werber

      Does your son have pain?
      If there is no pain, and he can run, keeps up with the other kids, and can play sports, then most likely your son will be fine.
      If on the other hand he prefers to be sedentary, hates running, or walking, then you need to explore further. I would recommend, going to a board certified foot and ankle specialists, your son may need an MRI to rule out a tarsal coalition, or other pathology.
      If you let me know where you are located, I would be happy to refer you to an appropriate physician.
      b

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